CIA Head Porter Goss Resigns Amid Scandal Rumors

Posted on May 5, 2006

In a Friday afternoon shocker, CIA head Porter Goss just resigned after only 19 months on the job.

When Bush nominated Goss in August 2004, in the midst of the president's re-election campaign, he said he would rely on the advice of the CIA officer-turned-politician on the sensitive issue of intelligence reform. "He knows the CIA inside and out," Bush said at the time. "He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history." Goss, a former congressman from Florida, head of the House Intelligence Committee and CIA agent, had been at the helm of the agency only since September 2004. White House counselor Dan Bartlett praised Goss' character and said, "This man has impeccable integrity."

Goss came under fire almost immediately, in part because he brought with him several top aides from Congress, who were considered highly political for the CIA. He had particularly poor relations with segments of the agency's powerful clandestine service. In a bleak assessment, California Rep. Jane Harman (news, bio, voting record), the Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, recently said, "The CIA is in a free fall," noting that employees with a combined 300 years of experience have left or been pushed out.

Under Goss and the sweeping intelligence overhaul Congress approved in December 2004, the CIA lost considerable clout among U.S. spy agencies. With the installation of the country's first national intelligence director, John Negroponte, Goss no longer sat atop the 16 intelligence agencies. Negroponte took that role � and many of the CIA director's responsibilities. That includes Bush's morning intelligence briefings. Goss also had some public blunders. In March 2005, just before Negroponte took over, Goss told an audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that he was overwhelmed by the many duties of his job, including devoting five hours out of every day to prepare for and deliver the presidential briefings. "The jobs I'm being asked to do, the five hats that I wear, are too much for this mortal," Goss said. "I'm a little amazed at the workload."

The White House hasn't given an actual reason for the "resignation," but all of Washington, D.C. is buzzing with rumors about what's going on. Some believe Porter Goss is embroiled in the burgeoning Randy Cunningham/Hookers At the Watergate Hotel Scandal in which defense companies ran some really interesting "Hospitality Suite" parties for lawmakers and VIPs. CBS is reporting that the number three official at the CIA, executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, is under investigation for bribery. Could Porter Goss be worried that he's about to become a target in that investigation? Time will tell.

Update: According to Sploid:

"Something happened," neo-conservative magazine editor William Kristol said on Fox News this afternoon. "It's going to be a bad few days. We're going to discover something ... It will be something not good for the Bush Administration." Fox News actually got a phone call from a "top White House official" during Kristol's damning comments, and Kristol was cut off so Bush mouthpiece Chris Wallace could say the Goss resignation is just a harmless part of the "White House shakeup." Sure.
The article is entitled "Fall of An American Criminal." This is going to be an interesting week ahead.

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